Let’s be honest. Our planet is taking strain and it’s because of us. Somewhere along the road, we lost touch with each other and this glorious planet we live on. There is no use in getting hung up on whose fault it is and who is to blame, there is only moving forward. Time has run out. The message at the Rewilding Africa launch in London made this clear. It is about all of us being involved and cognisant of our vital role in leaving an inhabitable planet for our children and grandchildren. Is it possible that we could help rewild Africa with wine?
After a wild goose chase around the magnificent Landseer lions with many bottles of wine in tow, we spotted the little springbok on the corner of the magnificent South Africa house. South African flag hanging proudly at the top. We were there. Later and sweatier than planned, but we made it. It was hot in London and we don’t visit often. However, walking through the cool reception and entering the marble foyer signalled our arrival. There was a feeling of home. None of us had ever been there and here we were, meeting some of the changemakers helping our beloved Africa and its inhabitants (of all kinds).
Mike Miller was the MC for the afternoon and also a founding member and a part of the leadership team of Rewilding Africa CIC. His commanding, yet endearing voice brought the hot murmuring room to silence. It was clear from the start that there were going to be some very interesting speakers to fill our afternoon on this warm August day.
The tone was African. Of course, there is nothing more African than sharing through music and a message from the community. The message was clear. The time is now and we need to do it together. ‘We have nowhere else to go.’ None of us.
One Planet Living in an Effort to Rewild
Cllr Donna Stimson was next. Her passionate plea and introduction to One Planet CEO, Pooran Desai brought a renewed sense of urgency to the room. Pooran’s message did subsequently not beat around the bush at all. Time has run out, and reducing our carbon footprint is no longer a possible solution. We need to adapt and rewild if we want to have any sort of chance at survival. It is a very urgent message to act and find alternative solutions. NOW.
Grant Fowlds, founding member, part of the leadership team at Rewilding Africa and author of Rewilding Africa: Restoring the WIlderness on a War-ravaged Continent is a South African conservationist with a commitment to all things endangered. He gave so many first-hand examples of what is happening through various projects. Grant gave accounts of the people passionately committed to this wonderful work. They are fighting hard to hang on to this magical world and the survival of all these majestic animals that share the space with us.
The heart-wrenching message from Sbu Jiyane, community land owner and partner in the Loziba Wildlife Reserve project, was to the point. “We have nowhere else to go.” James Arnott’s pleas spoke to this and the work that needs to be done. We can only do this together as communities where we work towards a common goal of supporting each other and our surroundings. Allowing it to return to its natural habitat where we are mere custodians of a once thriving land.
Learning about elephant paths and
Whether we are fighting for the elephants, rhinos, or African wild dogs our mission is the same. We can do this together and we leave no one behind, we have nowhere else to go.
This was the overwhelming message from James Charter of The Human Elephant Foundation. Animals don’t need borders, rivers flow freely, we need to rewild the world and stop this nonsense. We’ve messed things up for long enough. Elephant corridors a mile long create safe spaces for all. We can’t be greedy. It’s not our world alone, we share it with others and they need our help.
Rewild Africa with Wine?
Yes, to rewild refers to plants, animals and nature. However, perhaps it is time for us, as humans, to rewild as well and connect with our surroundings. As part of it and not separate. Together we are stronger.
Gerhard Perold brought it all together beautifully at the end of this 2-hour event. As his great grandfather brought 177 grape varieties back to South Africa in the early 1900’s, helping build agricultural and sustainable farming. Then creating the unique Pinotage. Abraham Izak Perold’s focus was also on community and making sure that there is synergy between man and nature. As South Africans, we are passionate about our heritage, community and nature. Don’t be a tourist, be involved. We are one with nature and not separate. That is why it’s so important for us all to be involved in the change however we can. We are stronger together
Looking back on this wonderful event we couldn’t help but feel that perhaps we are part of the solution. We see the role of sustainable wine production not only as a way to support this initiative through monetary means. Wine is so much more than a product to sell. Through sustainable farming, the wine farms and winemakers we work with are passionate about working with nature and the community. Wine brings communities together. Not only in the enjoyment of it, but also in the passion, the work opportunities and the involvement of local communities that create such wonderful wines.
That’s why we were so extremely proud, not only to have been part of this event but that we could share these special wines from these very special wine farms and winemakers, each with a unique story and lots of passion.
Let’s build an ecosystem of care.